Level A1


There are two almost identical words that mean “here”, they are “hérna” and “hér”. “Hérna” and “hér” are synonymous, but “hérna” is more commonly used.
The H in “hérna” is not a normal H sound, instead it has a sound similar to the English “hue”. This sound is created not in the throat but with a constriction in the back of the roof of your mouth. This sound appears when H is followed by a J or É.
Remember that “rn” is pronounced “dn”, so “hérna” is pronounced [hédna].
  • Hvað ert þú að gera hérna? = What are you doing here?


Hérna” is not only used to mean “here” – it also serves as a filler word like the English “uhh”, “uhm”, “like...”. It shows that you’re pausing to think while speaking. It is an extremely common filler word, if you listen to radio talk shows you may hear it in every single sentence. It is so common that Icelanders barely even notice the word. For that reason, you should try to switch from saying “uhh” when you hesitate speaking, to saying “hérna”. It can appear almost anywhere you hesitate in a sentence while your brain is looking for words.
  • Hvað ætlar þú, hérna, að gera í dag? = What are you, uhh, going to do today?
  • Hérna, hvað ætlar þú að gera í dag? = Uhh so, what are you going to do today?
  • Ég, hérna, ætla að borða, hérna, hamborga. = I am, uhh, going to eat an, uhh, hamburger.